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Dupe content checker - 302's - Page Jacking - Meta Refreshes

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11:35 am on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My site, lets call it: www.widget.com, has been in Google for over 5-years, steadily growing year by year to about 85,000 pages including forums and articles achieved, with a PageRank of 6 and 8287 backlinks in Google, No spam, No funny stuff, No special SEO techniques nothing.

Normally the site grows at a tempo of 200 to 500 pages a month indexed by Google and others ... but since about 1-week I noticed that my site was loosing about
5,000 to 10,000 pages a week in the Google Index.

At first I simply presumed that this was the unpredictable Google flux, until yesterday, the main index-page from www.widget.com disappeared completely our of the Google index.

The index-page was always in the top-3 position for our main topics, aka keywords.

I tried all the techniques to find my index page, such as: allinurl:, site:, direct link etc ... etc, but the index page has simply vanished from the Google index

As a last resource I took a special chunk of text, which can only belong to my index-page: "company name own name town postcode" (which is a sentence of 9
words), from my index page and searched for this in Google.

My index page did not show up, but instead 2 other pages from other sites showed up as having the this information on their page.

Lets call them:
www.foo1.net and www.foo2.net

Wanting to know what my "company text" was doing on those pages I clicked on:
www.foo1.com/mykeyword/www-widget-com.html
(with mykeyword being my site's main topic)

The page could not load and the message:
"The page cannot be displayed"
was displayed in my browser window

Still wanting to know what was going on, I clicked " Cached" on the Google serps ... AND YES ... there was my index-page as fresh as it could be, updated only yesterday by Google himself (I have a daily date on the page).

Thinking that foo was using a 301 or 302 redirect, I used the "Check Headers Tool" from
webmasterworld only to get a code 200 for my index-page on this other site.

So, foo is using a Meta-redirect ... very fast I made a little robot in perl using LWP and adding a little code that would recognized any kind of redirect.

Fetched the page, but again got a code 200 with no redirects at all.

Thinking the site of foo was up again I tried again to load the page and foo's page with IE, netscape and Opera but always got:
"The page cannot be displayed"

Tried it a couple of times with the same result: LWP can fetch the page but browsers can not load any of the pages from foo's site.

Wanting to know more I typed in Google:
"site:www.foo1.com"
to get a huge load of pages listed, all constructed in the same way, such as:
www.foo1.com/some-important-keyword/www-some-good-site-com.html

Also I found some more of my own best ranking pages in this list and after checking the Google index all of those pages from my site has disappeared from the Google index.

None of all the pages found using "site:www.foo1.com" can be loaded with a browser but they can all be fetched with LWP and all of those pages are cached in their original form in the Google-Cache under the Cache-Link of foo

I have send an email to Google about this and am still waiting for a responds.

9:02 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi

Here seems to be the major culprit for redirecting website traffic

There was an new way of trandferring domains implemented Friday of last week allowinf automatic transfers of domain names .

Registrant:
<snip>

I did a header server check and sure enough 302

Location: http://www.example.com/rest-of-url
Content-Length: 130

I have reported this to google.

Clint

[edited by: ciml at 10:27 am (utc) on Nov. 30, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics please. [/edit]

10:27 pm on Nov 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When did this new and imprpoved handling of 301/302 redirects across different domains went into effect?

Google's cache displays "as retrieved on Nov 14, 2004" for all of the pages in the site (except the meta redirect page).

12:14 am on Nov 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi

Disregard the above post as I was given the wrong domain name.

Clint

2:22 am on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Dave, i'm a target of somewhat different version of, let's call it, the exploit.
not /some.php? link, but a subdomain. with 302 redirect and 0 seconds meta-refresh. it worked longer than my other hijacked pages. the hijacker still shows up, right after my listing, which appeared back maybe 2 weeks ago. Very good for me at the moment, actually - two absolutely identical listings on the top 2 places, I'm starting to wonder if I could make them more with this same technique ;)

Anything new with your test results?

5:55 am on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Things appear exactly as reported earlier tosho. Some things to bear in mind about this whole issue:
1. I hijacked a lame, low traffic domain. I used a parked domain as the "hijacker." Neither is spidered frequently so testing takes time.
2. I have no way to check how the "hijacker domain" is faring in Google, I don't think it was ever indexed, I registered it but never used it.
3. Based on recent observations, pages seem to get dropped by Google in two steps. Generally, they change from a full SERP listing to a "URL only" listing for about a month, then that "URL only" disappears.

If you begin to see a URL only listing for the hijacker, you're making progress. But YOU'LL need to tell US how Google's doing! :)

<added>Since your listing reappeared about two weeks ago, I expect the hijacker will go URL only after another two weeks. I'd sure like to know how that progresses... </added>

7:18 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Googleguy needs examples! Send them now or forever hold your peace :)

from another forum:
"I heard that Matt asked pretty heavily for examples at the WebmasterWorld conference and only got one concrete example. If people want to send specifics (i.e. "site A appears to have duplicate pages from, or is doing a 301/302/whatever to site B, and Google is wrongly picking site A as canonical", with actual values for A and B), I'd be happy to hear them. Drop an email to webmaster [at] google.com with the keyword "canonicalpage" (all as one word) and I'll ask someone to collect the feedback and pass it on to an engineer. Being extra clear will help us with any feedback you send, e.g. "The correct site is somedomain.com, but if you do the query bla, you'll see that such-and-such.com shows up instead."

/////////////
it was posted on Nov 30th of this year so

7:30 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Walkman,

Since Thanksgiving, I have sent two emails to Google at Googleguy's attention with examples and received a form reply. It would seem that whomever is reading the emails is simply not interested or simply does not care. Furthermore, the following thread was started and Googleguy has made no appearance:

[webmasterworld.com...]

They are aware there is a problem but it seems nothing is being done to fix it. And they prefer to send silly form replies. Easy way out. Meanwhile...good websites are falling out of the search index every day. I will send comments to Google once more, and hope to see something positive rather than a form reply.

[edited by: crobb305 at 7:34 am (utc) on Dec. 5, 2004]

7:32 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Since Thanksgiving, I have sent two emails to Google at Googleguy's attention with examples and received a form reply"

try again with what he says as keyword...

7:35 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When you say "keyword", do you mean put this as the subject line for the email?

C

7:51 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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with the keyword "canonicalpage" (all as one word)

I'd put it both in the subject line and in the message.... Why not?

8:25 am on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ok...email just sent. Very long...with lots of examples. I hope it gets to where it needs to go. :)

C

7:49 pm on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Ok...email just sent. Very long...with lots of examples. I hope it gets to where it needs to go."

anyone else? Over 300 postings in this thread. If you don't send it to them you can't complain later on ;). Doesn't have to be your site as an example.

11:36 pm on Dec 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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One additional bit of info to prompt you to send examples...

In the above-cited thread, GoogleGuy is volunteering "no spam-related action based on these reports" (of inadvertent hi-jacks).

1:20 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Robert,
What do you mean?
2:15 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Robert,
What do you mean"

even if your site is spammy you will not get penalized. Basically they'll make believe they didn't see anything. No guarantees if someone reports you 2 months later though...which is normal.

4:03 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Sorry... I'm not sure it's appropriate to link offsite to the thread, but since GoogleGuy's request was mentioned, I thought his follow-up was important. Here's the whole exchange, to clarify....

Quote:
Question: Googleguy, If someone were to send you some examples, would you be willing to guarantee that the domains in question will not be penalized or banned, as long as the examples show only inadvertent (non-deliberate) hijacks?

GoogleGuy: Sure, I'll promise that no spam-related action will be taken based on the reports. If months later, the domain comes up for review for an unrelated reason, then that's a different matter, but I'll instruct whoever collects the feedback to only use it to check out how we pick canonical pages.

There's no further comment from GoogleGuy about what this really means, but I think it's a very straightforward offer. There's enough noise on various forums about this now, including on this thread, that Google wanted current examples.

I get a sense that Yahoo, by attacking the problem first, has made it mandatory for Google to fix it too... and I think they're doing just that.

4:28 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"There's no further comment from GoogleGuy about what this really means, but I think it's a very straightforward offer"

straightforward and I'd trust him. It takes 2 minutes to do so. Help them help us.

4:55 am on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes,
I dealt with this hijack problem with Yahoo about 10 months ago. My website was penalized and fell out of the serps for 2 months. Yahoo quickly got the problem fixed. I think Google will eventually follow suit...they just need to listen to the emails and stop with the form replies. Anyways...Walkman, thanks for bringing this to our attention--that Google was collecting feedback. Fingers crossed.

C

10:31 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Still waiting for a reply. Although I don't really expect one, I do hope they are still collecting this feedback. I have not seen Googleguy in quite sometime.
11:03 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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... this 302-redirecting to foreign pages instead of setting a proper "a href=" link is getting more popular.
I wrote a site owner about his 302-redirect to a page of mine and he replied, that he is using the postnuke CMS, and apparently postnuke's "link"-module seems just to work this way.

Are we having fun yet?

Regards,
R.

12:53 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thread started on: 6:35 am on Sept 7, 2004 (utc -5)
after 350 posts...It's now December 19th, 2004.

Has Google done anything to fix this bug?

1:45 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This issue has been lingering since summer 2003. Check [webmasterworld.com...] message #6.
4:29 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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did anyone consider having some journalists writing about this issue, maybe wallstreet journal or the finacial times? this is becoming quite an issue, i could employ a guy only for reporting sites which duplicate my sites.
4:42 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Write a press release and pay for full distribution on Prweb . com

Clint

6:38 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Clint

I am in adult and could not use the examples I am aware of. If there are mainstream guys then it would be cool if they could send some research material to some finacial papers. I guess there are some assistants who would like to do some research if they get some starting help. ;)

7:09 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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All of us webmasters could team up and build our own search engine and take our internet back?

I bet if we all put our resources together we could fund and build a search engine that put google and yahoo and msn to shame.

It wouldn't take long to recruit a few thousand webmasters that would love to help. I know I would. Then the webmasters who contribute would be share holders and own a piece of the company.

Then take the money and create a superior search engine that makes the rest look bad and it's money in the bank.

We could probably have it done in a year or less and making a profit by 2 years. When you have a superior product, it's easy to sell it.

7:49 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have a solution that might work. This post is 12 pages long and I have not read all of it, so excuse me if someoene else has thought of this before.

For those that have their sites hi-jacked, take a new URL and Hi-jack the other site back and then cloak it with Google's IP address, so that only Google sees the hi-jack, but when visitors click on the listing they would see your actual site.

Just an idea...I don't know if it would work or not, but soemthing to try :)

9:03 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I like the idea of a press release. The public is being deceived that Google is the superior search engine. But with original sites being hijacked, and Google refusing to address/solve the issue, the public should be made aware. Yahoo solved the hijacking problem (at least as it pertained to my website) within 2 months--earlier this year. I can't believe this problem with Google has been ongoing since the summer of 2003!
9:54 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Eyesshine - ODP.

Rest - I hope Google sort this soon. Sounds scary.

10:37 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Crobb

For $100.00 A press release can be released on PRWeb that will be picked up by Google News and Yahoo News.

I signed up for Google news alerts in the SEO category so I would love to see one come across my e-mail with a nice bold title - Google Misses Website Hijacking Exploit-Refuses to offer a solution.

What would really have worked is if we could use signature files in this forum Im sure this page could have been listed on Gooogles front pages as well.

Clint

This 389 message thread spans 13 pages: 389
 

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